The NFU is seeking more views on what measures the industry could take to “protect” people who live next to farmland and are concerned about spraying.
The union circulated hundred of copies of a questionnaire and briefing document during the Cereals Event.
It asks farmers questions such as how many enquiries have they had from concerned residents and what methods could used to alert residents before spraying.
The document makes it clear that the union thinks prior notification in all cases would be burdensome. However, it suggests a voluntary scheme that allows prior notification for people who request it, might be an option.
Farmers Weekly gathered some views from showgoers:
“This year we’ve done a lot of spraying at 5.30am in the morning because it has been so windy. I do wonder if you sent someone a text message at that time whether they would think it was useful or decide you were a nuisance. That said we don’t want compulsory rules.”
David Wagstaff, Notton Grange, Wakefield
“We’ve never had anyone complain, but we make sure we do it right. For example, we don’t spray the field next to the school when the children are there. I’m not sure texting people before spraying is practical – an alternative might be to put up a board saying ‘Spraying in process’.”
Tim Skinner, Stoddard Farm, Beckley, East Sussex
“I’ve heard of someone who drives around the headlands of the field once with the booms folded in and his flashing lights on as a warning that he’s about to spray. That seems to be a compromise and I suppose we should show willing as we’re not the most popular industry.”
Andrew Powers, Marcle Farming, Herefordshire
“People who want to find out what is being sprayed should come to us as it will be very difficult for farmers to tell everyone. I actually think most farmers are very responsible – on our farm there are already people we do inform before spraying.”
Paul Sheard, John Sheard Farms, North Bedfordshire
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